Florida Atlantic coach Lane Kiffin is no stranger to offering young football players a scholarship, once tendering David Sills, then a 13-year-old quarterback, an offer to play for USC. Now, Kiffin has offered another quarterback a scholarship — this time an 11-year-old.
Cole Leinart, the son of Matt Leinart, a 5-foot-7 sixth-grader, now holds an offer from Florida Atlantic, ESPN confirmed. Kiffin has a relationship with the older Leinart from their time at USC, where Kiffin was the wide receivers coach then the offensive coordinator for Leinart’s final season with the Trojans.
The offer is a nice gesture from Kiffin, but the NCAA doesn’t truly recognize football players as prospects until their ninth-grade year. A lot can happen between now and then as well, as Kiffin found out with Sills.
Once offered, Sills committed to the Trojans, but Kiffin was eventually fired as coach. The staff had a commitment from ESPN 300 quarterback Ricky Town and Sills would later decommit and find himself playing wide receiver at West Virginia.
The younger Leinart now holds a similar offer, but he has not committed to any school and has not yet decided to “come to FAU” — a phrase often tweeted by Kiffin.